Twenty Burmese Pythons Discovered in Utah Man's House

Authorities in Utah discovered 20 Burmese pythons during a search of a Salt Lake County man's house.

Police said the snakes—ten of which measured more than 10 feet in length—were "mostly free-roaming inside the residence," KSL TV reported.

Officers from the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake arrested the homeowner—Holladay resident Marty Bone—on multiple counts of possessing an exotic animal without a permit, possessing a dangerous animal without a permit and one count of unlawful sale of an exotic animal.

Officials from Salt Lake County Animal Services said Bone—who is being held at Salt Lake County Jail—had not had an exotic or dangerous animal permit since 2017.

Bone was arrested following an undercover operation in which an undercover officer purchased a baby python from the 64-year-old at his home.

The exotic animal trade in the U.S. is a multi-billion dollar industry, with millions of such animals—including snakes, lions, tigers, wolves, bears, monkeys, alligators and birds—being kept in private homes or roadside zoos across the country, according to non-profit Born Free USA.

These animals are often unsuitable pets and, in some cases can pose a significant danger to people. In addition, exotic animals in private hands are commonly kept in conditions that are not suitable for their needs, with many being abandoned or killed when they become too difficult to care for.

Burmese pythons are a large species of snake native to Southeast Asia that are capable of growing up to 23 feet in length. These serpents are a problematic invasive species in southern Florida where they have established a permanent foothold.

Experts believe that the snakes established themselves in the state after being released by exotic pet owners or escaping from homes. It is estimated that there could be more than 300,000 individual Burmese pythons in the state.

Burmese pythons pose a problem because they prey on native wildlife in South Florida while also competing with them for food. The U.S Geological Survey describes them as "one of the most concerning invasive species."

During the police search of Bone's home, officers also found a firearm, $2,000 in cash, "fresh marijuana" and pills that were determined to be opiate derivates.

He was also charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and one count of possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Burmese python
Stock image: A Burmese python. Police discovered 20 Burmese pythons in the home of a Utah man. iStock